After all the years of adjustments, pain, and frustration of wearing braces, you’ve finally reached that point that everyone who wears them dreams of: the day they come off. For many patients, the good news is tarnished by the prospect of having to wear a retainer. You just got out of wearing uncomfortable hardware all day every day, a trial you endured for months on end. Now you’re hearing that you need to wear something else. Not only that, you have to wear it for the rest of your life.

Dr. Brodsky has you wear a retainer because it’s keeping all that hard work from coming undone. Your mouth needs time to adjust to the new positions that your teeth are in. Without a retainer, your gums, ligaments, and bone will return to where they were before treatment. All of that time and effort will go to waste.

The good news is, the retainer doesn’t have to stay on all day, every day for the rest of your life. For the first 3-6 months after your braces are removed, you will have to wear it for somewhere between 12 to 22 hours a day. You will be able to take it out to eat, drink, and clean your teeth, which many people find to be a vast improvement all by itself.

If you follow the plan during this first period, you will be able to transition to wearing your retainer only when you sleep. This phase will also likely last for six months. After a year of treatment, you will be able to wear your retainer only 3-5 times a week. If that still seems like a lot, remember what the alternatives are. Your teeth will gradually return to their original position without constant reinforcement, meaning your beautiful straight smile can only exist so long as there is a retainer to keep them in place.

There are several styles of retainers. If you want to explore your options, including clear ones that are not much different than clear aligners. These can make your retainer more discreet. If you are interested in exploring your options with retainers, or want to learn more about the importance of wearing your retainer, feel free to call our office or ask questions during your next visit.